Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki have won 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for  developing new, more efficient ways of linking carbon atoms together to build the complex molecules that are improving our everyday lives - palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis.

Basically, it allows researchers to make chemicals easier.   Carbon-based (you called it 'organic' in college) chemistry is the basis of life and has allowed man to explain parts of the world using natural laws but also provided  a stable foundation for functional molecules, which led to revolutionary materials like plastics.

But joining carbon items is not elegant because carbon is stable and carbon atoms do not easily react with one another so chemists have always needed ways to make carbon more reactive. Those methods worked for simple molecules, but more complex molecules left by-products so  palladium-catalyzed cross coupling solved that problem.  In the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and Suzuki reaction, carbon atoms meet on a palladium atom, and that proximity to one another kick-starts the chemical reaction.

Today, Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling is used virtually everywhere in research and also in the  pharmaceuticals and electronics industries.